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Habitat Project

Objectives Students will understand the following: 1. Earth supports many different animal habitats, each of which has distinct features and distinct plant and animal populations. 2. Animals and plants are adapted to the conditions of the habitats in which they live.

Materials For this project, you will need: Research materials on habitats Computer with Internet access Science Notebooks

Procedures

1. The class is going to research different habitats of the world. Each student will produce a report on their habitat including the following information: 1. 1. A physical description of the habitat (a paragraph) 2. 2. Examples of the habitat (geographical locations) 3. 3. Examples of animals and plants that live in the habitat In addition, each student will be given a specific assignment that will

require them to show how the animals in the assigned habitat are adapted for life there. 2. Students will each investigate one of the following habitats: grasslands (or savanna), temperate forest, tropical rain forest, desert, polar ice, tidepools. The class will be divided into six groups and each group will have one of those habitats to research. Each habitat will have about five students working on separate projects. Following are specific assignments for each group of students: Grasslands (savanna): Research the speeds of animals that live in the African grasslands. Project: Create a display that compares the different speeds of these animals. Write an explanation for why speed is important for survival in the grasslands. (There are few trees or places for animals to hide in grasslands habitats. Therefore, speed is important for both predators that are hunting and animals that are fleeing predators.) Temperate forest: In the winter, less water is available for trees to take in through their roots, because much of the water in the ground is frozen. Since trees lose water through their leaves, losing leaves is a way for a tree to conserve water. Coniferous trees do not lose nearly as much water through their needles as deciduous trees lose through their leaves. Project: Put a twig from a coniferous tree (cone-bearing tree with needles instead of leaves) in a cup of water, and tightly fasten a clear plastic bag around its needles. Put a twig from a deciduous tree (leafy tree that loses its leaves in the fall) in a cup of water, and tightly fasten a clear plastic bag around the leaves. Observe what happens. Draw pictures and write an explanation for what you observed. (There will be more water droplets on the inside of the bag covering the leaves, showing that leaves lose more water than do needles.) Tropical rain forest:

Describe the three main levels of the rain forestcanopy, understory, and forest floor. Project: Make a diagram or model showing examples of animals and plants that live on each level. Choose an animal or plant from each level and explain how it is adapted to its particular place in the tropical rain forest. (Canopy examples: monkeys can use arms and legs and sometimes even tails to swing from branch to branch; birds such as parrots have specialized feet with two curling front toes and two curling back toes to help them hang on to branches. Understory example: snakes such as boa constrictors spend their days curled around branches or vines. Forest floor example: jaguars' spots help them to be better hunters by making them hard to see among the speckled shadows of the rain forest floor.) Desert: Choose a desert animal or plant. Project: Make a model of it, draw it, or describe it. Explain how it is particularly well adapted to survive in a place where there is very little water. (Plant example: the saguaro cactus has an expanding trunk that allows it to take in a great deal of water when water is available. The saguaro has stored-up water during the long desert dry periods. Animal examples: many desert animals dig burrows in the sand to stay cool in the intense heat; many desert animals sleep during the day and are active at night, when the temperature is lower.) Polar ice: Research both the polar bear (North Pole) and the penguin (South Pole). Project: Draw or make a model of each animal. For each animal, explain at least three waysphysical or behavioral characteristicsin which it is well adapted for life in a very cold and snowy climate. (Polar bear examples: two layers of fur and an extra layer of fat under its skin keep it warm; ears are very small so that very little heat can escape from them; paws are huge to help spread out its weight over the snow and keep it from sinking in; it builds snow dens to keep its babies warm in winter; it has white fur that

helps it blend in to its surroundings.) Tidepool: Explain how a tidepool is formed, and describe several animals that are found in tidepools. Project: Make two models or two drawings of a tidepoolone at high tide and one at low tide. Use sand, rocks, salt water, and other materials (e.g., modeling clay) for your models. Draw at least three tidepool animals and explain how they survive in a constantly changing habitat (sometimes wet, sometimes dry). (Examples: periwinkles, limpets, and barnacles attach themselves to rocks by suction so they will not be swept away when the tide goes out; the incoming tide brings food to clams, oysters, and musselsall they have to do is open up their shells and tiny bits of animals and plants flow in.)

First Step 1. Choose a habitat! Ms. A is going to keep a list of what everyone is studying. Think about the projects we have discussed and what you are interested in learning more about. Dont necessarily pick something you have a lot of knowledge about already because you will have more fun learning about a habitat that is unfamiliar. 2. Draw pictures of plants and animals that would be found in the habitat you have signed up for in the box on the next page. Draw neatly and colour and label your drawings. We will come back to these drawings once we have learned more about our habitats to see how much we have learned.

My habitat:____________________________